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November 4, 2014

BGYEA and Government given more time for mediation

Audrey Matura Shepherd

Audrey Matura Shepherd

Audrey Matura Shepherd

Tuesday, November 4, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting:  The case of the Government of Belize and Belize Grassroots Youth Empowerment Association (BGYEA) returned to court on Tuesday.

When last we left it Justice Courtney Abel had scheduled mediation between the parties.

BGYEA wants to go through with a project to plant corn in what Government claims is its road reserve.

Attorney for BGYEA Audrey Matura-Shepherd updated the results of yesterday’s case management conference, where there was a change of attorney but no change of mind by the judge about the way forward.

The Government has turned to Senior Counsel Rodwell Williams over the Solicitor General’s office to continue with the case. But the change does not matter, only how the law is interpreted, says Matura-Shepherd.

Matura-Shepherd says there have been efforts to settle but the Government’s change in legal representation may signal a change in tactics.

The court set deadlines for providing further evidence in lieu of mediation not working by the date set, which is the end of November.

Another development sees the removal of Sam Patten, the investor who had assisted BGYEA with the planned project, from the case as a party.

Matura-Shepherd said he has washed his hands of any court action, typical of businessmen. Her clients have not done anything to disturb the disputed property.

Matura Shepherd believes Government’s attitude, including its treatment of trespassers in the area, is based on an unspoken fear of BGYEA’s plans.

Because “land is power,” ordinary Belizeans with their own land can improve their lot and not depend on politicians for advancement.

It is why acknowledged “trespassers” in the area have been allowed to stay, beholden as they are to political interests for their survival.

The case resumes at the end of November.

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